Movie and TV audiences have grown increasingly skeptical of big-budget projects featuring people in capes and cowls. So, how can an enterprising superhero-based media platform stay relevant?
It makes sense for Disney+ and Marvel to develop a thriller around Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, the baddest dude not wearing a cape in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fury finally gets his own show in Secret Invasion, a six-episode limited series.
It is Marvel’s first live action series in 2023 and the first series in its phase five, featuring a severely diminished Fury facing yet another world-threatening calamity. Marvel fans know Fury’s had a tough time over the years; in the film Captain America: Winter Soldier, it was revealed that the infamous spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D. was infested with Neo-Nazis.
Maria Hill, played by Cobie Smulders with earnest efficiency, is disappointed as well. Fury is not ready for this, she tells him. “You weren’t the same after the blip. You always told me there’s no shame in walking away when the steps are uncertain. So look your footing. Otherwise, someone is going to get hurt.”
An old spy seeking redemption
In many series recently, from Star Trek: Picard to Shrinking, we have seen this: a longtime star plays a character who faces his age, mortality, and the weight of past decisions, wondering if he (these days, it’s usually a he) can still find the strength to overcome this challenge.
Unlike other Marvel movies – Ant Man is a heist movie, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man projects are often coming-of-age movies – Secret Invasion emphasizes Fury’s spy skills in a suspenseful drama.